Q & A with Kim Azzarelli


Foundation president Kim Azzarelli on why we’re focusing on women and girls—and how you can help to support and advance women’s causes worldwide.

What is the Women in the World Foundation’s mission?

The Women in the World (WITW) Foundation is a new initiative dedicated to advancing women and girls around the globe. Building on the success of Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s annual Women in the World summit and harnessing the journalistic power of the magazine and website, the foundation hopes to become an invaluable resource for all who seek to learn about and engage in the issues facing women and girls. The foundation will support women leaders, provide strategic grants to select nonprofit organizations, and foster much-needed collaboration between women’s groups internationally.

How was the foundation born?

The foundation grew out of Newsweek & The Daily Beast’s Women in the World summit, launched by the publication's editor-in-chief, Tina Brown, in March 2010. The summit brings together extraordinary women leaders and advocates from around the world to find solutions to the challenges facing women and girls. It also showcases remarkable stories of everyday pioneers. In the year and a half since the first summit, participants have reached out to Newsweek & The Daily Beast in droves, wondering how they can get involved; how they can be part of the solution. Enter the Women in the World Foundation. While the summit, along with the journalistic platforms of Newsweek & The Daily Beast, will continue to provide a vehicle for telling women’s stories, the foundation will serve as a solutions destination and platform for action. It will convene organizations that target the key issues facing women, as well as foster a global network of women, encouraging people to get involved and contribute in whatever way they can.

Why women, why now?

Countless studies show that advancing women and girls is one of the most effective paths to solving many of the world’s problems. It boils down to the “multiplier effect”—the notion that supporting women not only has a positive impact on the women themselves, but also on their families and communities, driving benefits from decreased mortality rates to soaring GDP growth. As both the public and private sectors have come to recognize this power, one could say that the world is at a tipping point. It became clear to us that now is the time to rev our engines and shine a spotlight on the solutions.

There are so many women’s foundations in the world—what differentiates this one?

It’s true. And yet, while these organizations have made incredible strides individually, by harnessing their collective work and reach, we can accomplish so much more. Alternatively, unless the world’s many nonprofits connect and communicate, we risk inefficiency. Our foundation aims to use our journalistic platform and global network to create one destination—a solutions destination—where women’s advocates can learn about the great programmatic work that other foundations are accomplishing around the world.  It is our hope that the Women in the World Foundation will bring more visibility to their work, get them the resources they need, and encourage advocates to collaborate—helping to accelerate solutions.

What is the relationship between the foundation and The Newsweek Daily Beast Company?

The Newsweek Daily Beast Company is the founding member of the Women in the World Foundation. While the company will contribute resources and support to the foundation, our organization is a separate entity in the process of obtaining charitable tax-exempt status.

Who are your donors?

Our Founding Partners are the Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Africa Global (an affiliate of Grupo ABC). We are very proud that these well-regarded organizations support the foundation’s vision and unique role it can play in advancing women and girls, and that they have decided to seed our charity. We expect, over time, many individuals and organizations will also contribute.

What types of organizations you will fund?

The Women in the World Foundation will primarily serve as a resource for individuals and organizations seeking to advance women and girls. However, we will support a broader network of charitable projects that further our mission. We will not support any campaign activities and political organizations.

What is your long-term hope for the foundation, and how will you measure success?

Perhaps above all, we hope to spark a global dialogue—to create a network across generations and continents. Success will come when we see significant change for women and girls.  We know progress won’t happen overnight, but we hope that we can contribute in a meaningful way to the long-term health, well-being, success, and safety of women and girls.